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Your opinion wanted: 10th ANNUAL USE OF TECH IN THE FRAME SHOP SURVEY 11/2012

Mike Labbe

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10th ANNUAL FRAME SHOP TECHNOLOGY POLL & DISCUSSION
Does your shop have a CMC? POS? WEBSITE?

A survey that compares how US and CANADIAN shops have applied technology such as matcutters, CMCs, pricing/POS systems, visualization, internet access, websites, social networking, etc A brief comparison of backup procedures and computer security.


CLICK HERE TO PARTICIPATE


This should take less than 5 minutes...
Your input and discussion are greatly appreciated!


The survey runs 11/1/2012 - 11/30/2012. Results to be posted week of 12/1/2012

RESULTS from previous surveys: LINK TO RESULTS

-If a vendor mass emails customers encouraging them to participate, their product will be disqualified
-One entry per shop or IP permitted
-This survey is intended for US and Canadian framers, but not vendors or reps.
-Your poll selections are anonymous, although discussion is public and encouraged.
-The results represent a small sample of the industry, and should NOT be used as a primary planning tool or business plan. This survey is purely for entertainment, to compare with our online peers, and to stimulate discussion about important frame shop technology issues.
 

i-FRAMER

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it seemed a little short, only 6 questions is it finished?
 

Jeff Rodier

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I didn't see any option for package pricing which is a shame since it allowed multiple answers. 99% of my framing is covered in packages with categories for different materials such as glass type and conservation vs. decorative framing. There are a large number of us offering extensive package selections these days.
 

hangupsgallery

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I didn't see any option for package pricing which is a shame since it allowed multiple answers. 99% of my framing is covered in packages with categories for different materials such as glass type and conservation vs. decorative framing. There are a large number of us offering extensive package selections these days.
The survey didn't ask how you price, it's focus was on your use of technology.:nuts:
 

Jeff Rodier

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......and yet it included "Charts Supplied by Vendors". :nuts::nuts:
 
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Mike Labbe

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I didn't see any option for package pricing which is a shame since it allowed multiple answers. 99% of my framing is covered in packages with categories for different materials such as glass type and conservation vs. decorative framing. There are a large number of us offering extensive package selections these days.
That doesn't have much to do with technology though :) This particular survey is about how we have (or have not) adapted modern technologies in the frame shop. (computers, cmc's, websites, etc) That is less of a technology topic, and more of a pricing strategy/method topic. That topic is a good one, though, and would possibly merit a future survey all by itself.

......and yet it included "Charts Supplied by Vendors". :nuts::nuts:
Yes this was to establish if the framer was using technology, or a manual method (looking it up in a paper chart, supplied by a vendor, with a calculator). Even though it is a tech poll, I wanted to make sure there was a slot for every method of price calculation/invoicing.

These questions have remained largely unchanged every November now for 10 years. This gives us an interesting comparison, and have been clear trends.

Thanks for the feedback
Mike
 

Mike Labbe

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Just a reminder: This is for our (retail/wholesale/big box/home based) framer friends in USA and Canada only. (no reps or vendors please)
 

Lance E

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If offering package pricing I suggest you refer back to the method used to create those package prices.
 

Jeff Rodier

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Cost times mark up needed to achieve desired margins. While I use a ton of technology the package pricing was done in my head and then printed using word processing software on a piece of paper which is dry mounted on foam core. Since I have completed the survey I can't go back and read the questions but I believe the question was how do you perform pricing at the design counter. I measure the artwork and point to the price on my printed chart.

The survey allowed for multiple answers to each question which I checked all that applied but a package price chart was not an available choice. I simply thought it would be interesting to see how many have added package pricing since it has increased considerably in the past couple of years. Like Mike mentioned it would make an interesting topic as to how many have adopted that option.
 
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Ylva

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DONE!!!!!

I like seeing how things change over the years. Jeff, this is the tech survey, not a price based survey.

Might be interesting for another survey though?
 

Bob Doyle

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It is interesting how many grumblers don't use a POS. I was in those ranks but can not imagine going back to charts and paper forms. I didn't notice Was Quick Books and paper charts an option? That was my first attempt at a POS...
 

Jeff Rodier

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There were choices of Excel type software or Vendor Supplied Charts. If you were using a chart that you created there was no option for that.
 

Bob Doyle

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Thankfully I don't remember those dark days :) I think I made my own chart, that it was based off of the vendors chart and the prior owners chart, and that it was out of date and next to useless. but I did like using the moulding slide rules I had :) They were fun....

Quick Books was the base as that was what my accountant wanted for my numbers... And i am glad he insisted as it got me using the computer, which is how I found the Grumble, which got me to graduate to LifeSaver....
 

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There were choices of Excel type software or Vendor Supplied Charts. If you were using a chart that you created there was no option for that.
Either 'custom spreadsheet'
or
custom data base

would work for package pricing.

when you calculated your package pricing, what did you use to do that? paper/pen/calculator?


I think, as it is, there were too many options available , which splinters the outcome of any survey. Hard to graph if everyone gets their own custom answer.
 
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Mike Labbe

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There were choices of Excel type software or Vendor Supplied Charts. If you were using a chart that you created there was no option for that.
Yes. That question was about which technology you use to generate/produce/print your invoices. One option mentioned doing it on paper/manual (multi part forms, etc), which was the one that included any non computerized method.

Package pricing would fit into most of the answers, and wasnt the focus of this survey. (I can sell Package Pricing, for example, with LifeSaver - and have my 'chart' defined within)

This was asking how the paperwork given to the customer is produced, basically.

Pricing concepts such as Chop, Length, Join, Closeout, Package Pricing, etc do not fit into this particular survey.

A similar question is on the survey asking how you cut mats (manual, a particular CMC, etc)

Mike
 

Mike Labbe

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I will make it so in a few days, after the Limo Extravaganza thread has had some time in the 'limelight' :)

Thanks to EVERYONE for participating! As of right now, there are 81 responses. We hope to reach at least 200, as in the past.

If you have yet to vote, the link is here: http://freeonlinesurveys.com/s.asp?sid=sv0e0dc7d22smmt137378

It's hard to believe that this is the 10th annual! That means I have been a moderator for about 10 years and a few days. WOW that flew by fast!

Thanks
Mike
 

Mike Labbe

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Andy might disagree with that one!!! :)
 
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Mike Labbe

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We had 120 participants in the first week - let's keep that number growing.

If you haven't participated yet, please see the first post in this thread.

Thanks!
Mike
 

SusanG

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Mike,
Thanks for doing this for our industry. Do the results from the Grumble and the Framers Corner all go into the same survey?
Susan
 
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Hi Susan!

Yes the survey is shared with the Grumble (where it started and is hosted), PPFA Framer's Corner forum, ArtAffairs Forum, and LinkedIn.

They're all pointing to the same survey website, which sets a cookie and checks the IP to make sure there is only one vote per framer.

Mike
 

SusanG

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Three cheers for Mike who takes the time to do this for us framers. The results are always interesting and I love to see the changes from year to year.
Susan
 

Mike Labbe

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I find the results very interesting, too. It's amazing how many things stay about the same from year to year, but we have seen changing trends such as the decreased avg cost for webhosting, and the migration in 10 years from dialup internet to dsl and then to cable or fios. (as newer and faster technologies come out)

I find it interesting this year, that we also extended the invitation to folks from linkedin.com So far the overall results are slightly lower for those using a professional POS system and a CMC. (about 5%-10% lower, overall, for each category) The poll still has a couple weeks to go, but that tells me that perhaps the people on forums such as the Grumble, PPFA Framer's Corner, and ArtAffairs are more tech savvy than linkedin folks.

It's not over yet, and I hope many more people invest a few minutes to participate.

If you would like to participate, here is the link to click: http://freeonlinesurveys.com/s.asp?sid=sv0e0dc7d22smmt137378

Thanks
Mike
 

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aangles

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At first I thought ok, I don't really utilize much technology in my shop aside from the computer on my desk, so wouldn't apply much to me. But then my curiosity got the better of me and I had to take a look. The questions made me feel just a little quaint and antiquated, lol, since I am of the tabletop cutter, paper-and-pencil, vendor chart variety out of financial necessity, but I would certainly be curious to know about how many others out there still do it the old-fashioned way!!?? So thanks for giving options in the question answers that are applicable to little guys like me. :thumbsup:
 
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Mike Labbe

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Every response helps, and I'm thankful that you took the time to answer!

As of 12 months ago (for the 2011 period), 92% reported having internet at the shop, 72% had a CMC in their shop, 42% had visualization, and 74.47% had a professional POS system. (14.36% manually with paper/calculator/chart, 6.38% custom database or app, 4.79% Computer spreadsheet)

We know that only 36% of the participants back up their PC's daily, 87% have a website, 58% had a Facebook page, 15% have Twitter, 13% had a blog, 3% had unsecured WIFI, 91% have Windows PC(S)/16% have MAC(S), 25% offered wide format printing, 50% offered photo restoration

We will now have 10 years of data on file. Granted, this is only a small sampling of the industry - and people on forums are probably among the most tech savvy - but it's still very interesting and you can see changing trends over the 10 year period.

Mike
 

Bob Doyle

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I wonder how many without internet access filled out this survey..... and how :)
 

Mike Labbe

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ha ha. Good point - but it asks if they have it AT THE SHOP. They might be taking the survey from home, too :)

One more day then a weekend of number crunching.

Mike
 

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Polling closes tonight
 

Mike Labbe

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2012 Survey Results: Internet at the shop

Discussion is welcome. I'll break this up into several posts.

98.5% of surveyed shops reported having internet available in the shop. Here is the breakdown:

38.1% Cable ISP
38.1% DSL ISP (being phased out)
7.74% FiOS
5.95% WIFI (from someone ELSE'S router. permission or not)
4.76% OTHER ISP (T1, T3, Frame, ISDN, Microwave, etc)
3.57% Cellular/Mobile ISP (Verizon, ATT, TMobile, ClearWire, etc)
1.79% Dialup ISP (being phased out)
0.00% Satellite ISP (DirecPC, etc)


  • CABLE internet has enjoyed a steady increase, now tied with DSL
  • DSL peaked in 2007 and is now on the decline, as it is being phased out in many markets
  • Dialup internet peaked in 2003, and has long since been phased out.
  • New technologies such as FIOS are on the increase


Please note: These annual surveys are done merely for discussion and entertainment value, and should not be used as a primary planning tool. Results represent those who participated in a survey. Participants represent a very technology active part of the US framing community (forum users), but the results may not necessarily represent the industry as a whole. Please use the results with caution. Details can be viewed at http://www.custompictureframing.com/poll_results.htm
 
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2012 Survey: CMC and MAT CUTTING

In this section, we are looking at CMC results from the 10th annual framer's tech survey.

71% of surveyed shops said that they have a CMC. (up from 49% in 2003)







2012 SHOPS WITH MANUAL MAT CUTTERS (note: These shops may ALSO have a CMC)
42.86% We have a tabletop matcutter
20.41% We have a wall mounted matcutter
12.76% We have an oval manual matcutter
9.69% We have a hand held matcutter

2% of participants use an outside mat cutting service/provider, 98% cut the mats in-house



Please note: These annual surveys are done merely for discussion and entertainment value, and should not be used as a primary planning tool. Results represent those who participated in a survey, from USA and CANADA ONLY. Participants represent a very technology active part of the US framing community (forum users), but the results may not necessarily represent the industry as a whole. Please use the results with caution. Details can be viewed at http://www.custompictureframing.com/poll_results.htm
 

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2012 Survey Results: Job Pricing and Point of Sale Systems

In this section, we are looking at Pricing Methods and POS results from the 10th annual framer's tech survey.

How do you price jobs at the design counter?



  • 71.79% Commercial POS system (see detail below)
  • 17.44% Manually with vendor paper chart and/or calculator
  • 6.15% Spreadsheet (Excel, etc)
  • 4.10% Custom database or compiled program
  • 0.51% Did not answer







Ten Year POS Company Market Share Trends


Note: This chart represents only those with greater than 2% market share. For full report, see the link below.



Please note: These annual surveys are done merely for discussion and entertainment value, and should not be used as a primary planning tool. Results represent those who participated in a survey, from USA and CANADA ONLY. Participants represent a very technology active part of the US framing community (forum users), but the results may not necessarily represent the industry as a whole. Please use the results with caution. Details can be viewed at http://www.custompictureframing.com/poll_results.htm
 

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2012 Poll Results: POS and Backups

In this section, we are looking at Pricing Methods and POS results from the 10th annual framer's tech survey.

For those who use computers to price, how many POS terminals are at the design counter?

  • 1 PC 60.71%
  • 2 PCs 24.29%
  • 3 PCs 5.71%
  • 4 PCs 2.86%
  • 5 PCs 2.14%
  • 6 or more PCs 4.29%


How frequently do you BACK UP your POS data?

  • 49.28% Daily Backup (alarming. Should be 100%)
  • 28.26% Weekly
  • 22.46% Monthly
  • 13.77% Once in a blue moon
  • 5.07% I DO NOT BACK UP MY DATA


POS system backup method

  • 37.68% USB Thumb/Flash Drive
  • 22.22% Rotation of removable hard drives
  • 15.94% Offsite company (webrescue, carbonite, etc)
  • 9.42% To another PC in same office
  • 5.07% To CD, DVD, or ZIP disk
  • 5.80% Remotely via internet (to house)
  • 0.72% DAT/Steaming Cart Device
  • 0.00% Floppy Disks
  • 5.07% OTHER


Only 23.91% of shops surveyed are storing physical backups off-site (in case of fire, theft, etc)



Please note: These unbiased annual surveys are done for discussion and entertainment value, and should not be used as a primary planning tool. Results represent those who participated in a survey, from USA and CANADA ONLY. Participants represent a very technology savvy part of the US framing community (forum users), but the results may not necessarily represent the industry as a whole. Please use the results with caution. Details can be viewed at http://www.custompictureframing.com/poll_results.htm
 

Ylva

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I love those graphs!!!!! Interesting to see that Valiani is upcoming and Wizard down (although apparently they still have the bigger market share). Also interesting to see about the POS system.

I like numbers and graphs....I do realize this is Grumblers, am wondering if it would translate to the industry as a whole.
 

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2012 Results: Visualization Systems in the Frame Shop (USA/CANADA)

In this section, we are looking at Virtual Framing Visualization Software Use from the 10th annual framer's tech survey.









Please note: These unbiased annual surveys are done for discussion and entertainment value, and should not be used as a primary planning tool. Results represent those who participated in a survey, from USA and CANADA ONLY. Participants represent a very technology savvy part of the US framing community (forum users), but the results may not necessarily represent the industry as a whole. Please use the results with caution. Details can be viewed at http://www.custompictureframing.com/poll_results.htm
 
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Mike Labbe

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2012 Results: Web sites and social networking

In this section, we are looking at social networking and website use results from the 10th annual framer's tech survey.


  • 82.65% have a business WEB page
  • 72.22% have a business FACEBOOK page
  • 19.14% have a business TWITTER page
  • 12.35% have a business BLOG
  • 0.62% have a business TUMBLER page (reported as OTHER)
  • 0.62% have a business PINTEREST page (reported as OTHER)


Who created your website?

  • 54.32% I designed/created the site
  • 32.72% A professional web designer or consultant
  • 12.96% A friend, employee, or relative


How often is your web page updated or modified?





How Effective is your web page for attracting customers on scale of 1-10?


Average 2012 score 50% (5/10)
Average 2011 score 48% (4.8/10)
Average 2010 score 45% (4.5/10)
Average 2009 score 44% (4.4/10)
Average 2008 score 38% (3.8/10)
Average 2007 score 35% (3.5/10)
Average 2006 score 29% (2.9/10)

MISC Web Items
24.69% My site offers a printable coupon
24.07% I sell a product online, through the site
18.52% I accept credit cards or paypal, directly through the site
10.49% I require customers to call for payment from website
24.69% I have tried paid placement/keywords
9.26% I have paid to submit my site to search engines
32.10% I have attended a web marketing class
24.07% My site offers reciprocal links
65.43% My site link is included in our regular ads
24.69% My site link is posted on outdoor signage
69.14% My site link is on our business cards
19.14% My site link is on our company vehicle

Please note: These unbiased annual surveys are done for discussion and entertainment value, and should not be used as a primary planning tool. Results represent those who participated in a survey, from USA and CANADA ONLY. Participants represent a very technology savvy part of the US framing community (forum users), but the results may not necessarily represent the industry as a whole. Please use the results with caution. Details can be viewed at http://www.custompictureframing.com/poll_results.htm
 

Lance E

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I love those graphs!!!!! Interesting to see that Valiani is upcoming and Wizard down (although apparently they still have the bigger market share). Also interesting to see about the POS system.

I like numbers and graphs....I do realize this is Grumblers, am wondering if it would translate to the industry as a whole.
I always find this fascinating, however I suspect that the Framers who seek out the Grumble are perhaps more inclined to be using technology for all manner of things which may skew some results a bit.
 

Mike Labbe

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The graphs are new this year, because I know framer's are visually inclined. They also make it easier to digest the crunched numbers.

This is just a sampling of framers, but the results have a very logical and consistent pattern each year. There is a margin of error, and its true that some items will be off. (like shops that don't have a computer, don't have a POS, don't have a CMC are probably not likely to participate - so the percentage of people doing things manually is likely higher). But a lot of it is probably fairly accurate, too. (satisfaction with website, market share for those with systems/cmc's, backup methods and frequency, internet access methods, amount paid for webhosting, etc)

The survey started 10 years ago as grumble only, but spread to other forums in the past few years. (invitations were posted here, ppfa framers corner forum, art affairs forum, etc). This year we also posted it on linkedin, which targeted an average voter with a lower interest in frame shop technology. (the statistics for many things took a nosedive for a few days after that invite; but probably improves the overall accuracy of the survey. I can see daily totals each day of the survey, and the country and referral link that they used to get to it, but no personally identifiable info is collected.)

It's hard to believe it has been 10 years! Thanks for participating and for viewing the results.

Mike
 

i-FRAMER

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Hi Mike,

How many participated in the survey from each year?
 

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2012 US/Canadian Survey: Security and MISC items (final page)



In this final section, we are looking at security and misc results from the 10th annual framer's tech survey.

Are you a PC or a MAC?

  • 91.05% Have at least one Windows based computer
  • 13.68% Have at least one Apple/MAC based computer

MISC Items

  • 9.47% We offer a public terminal for customers to search for art
  • 25.26% Our business offers WIDE FORMAT PRINTING
  • 48.42% Our business offers PHOTO RESTORATION services (in house or outsourced)
  • 45.26% Our shop emails some customers upon order completion
  • 35.79% We use online materials order for some vendors (LJ Direct, Studio, United, WebOrders, etc)

Antivirus

  • 26.84% Have been infected with a virus in the past
  • 77.89% have current antivirus protection
  • 6.32% have EXPIRED antivirus protection
  • 15.79% have NO antivirus protection

Wireless Security
47.37% We have a router or firewall device in our office/shop
40.00% We use wireless/WIFI in our office/shop
92.11% Our wireless has ENCRYPTION enabled (7.89% have no encryption)

Special note: If your router or provider equipment has antennas, it needs to be secured; even if you don't USE the wireless feature personally - others may have full access. If it is not encrypted with a password/key, or if you are using WEP type encryption, your data is at risk! If you are using Verizon FIOS, the default password needs to be changed. (WEP encryption and Verizon FIOS default passwords are easily guessed within minutes. WPA2 is a better encryption method for wireless. Most new equipment comes with WEP by default, or no security at all)


Re-post of 2004 Grumble security post:
Wireless Security Tips For Your Shop or Home
10/28/2004 Mike Labbe www.getthepictureframing.com

If you use wireless networking technology in your shop, you may be a target for hackers or individuals who may want to harvest your customer and/or financial data.

I was surprised when I turned on my laptop one day, in the comfort of my living room, and found a list of 3 available networks. It turns out one was my network and the other two were neighbors on a different street. The individuals left their wireless equipment with the default settings and were broadcasting their shared drives and printers to the entire neighborhood. The neighbors were equally surprised when I brought it to their attention.

This scenario is very common. In fact, as many as 80% of all wireless networks are easy prey because they have absolutely no security and the default factory settings were never changed. I personally think this is a serious problem, because it allows strangers full access to use your internet feed for illegal purposes. (liability) It also allows full access to copy or erase the contents of shared network drives, such as your POS database or customer list.

Security precautions to take if you have wireless deployed in your shop or home:

- Enable wireless security/encryption and assign a key. (MOST important) This is a setting in the router. I suggest choosing the newer 'WPA2' encryption. It will then let you assign an access "key" (password). In order to use your network, each PC will be prompted for this secret key one time. This is perhaps the most important precaution to take when securing your network, to keep unauthorized folks out.

Note: It is best NOT to use 'WEP' encryption. This older encryption method has been broken, and it would take a hacker less than a few minutes to break through this layer of security. There are various free utilities out there which claim to break through this layer of security in "6 to 30 seconds".

- Change the default password on your router. This will prevent customers, employees, or hackers from removing security that is already in place (firewall, encryption, etc). What if someone posing to view your art database was actually logged in to your router, removing security so they could later come back at night with a laptop and harvest your entire customer base and pricing data from the parking lot/car?

- Upgrade the firmware in your router. All router manufacturers periodically upgrade the software in the routers, and it's upgraded in about a minute through their web page. These important updates are released to improve performance and fix security problems. ( http://www.linksys.com/download/ http://kbserver.netgear.com/main.asp http://www.dlink.com )

- Change the default SSID name of the router and turn SSID broadcasting OFF. (less important) When a hacker sees "NETGEAR" or "LINKSYS" broadcasted, they assume you didn't care enough to set it up properly - and probably have lax security. In addition, it can get confusing if there are multiple networks in range with the same name. Select a unique name. Turning off the SSID broadcasting will discourage most accidental connections, although there are utilities out there to find networks even with this option turned off.

- Enable the "Wireless Mac Filter" option in your router, and enter all of your machines in the table as the only machines permitted to access your network. (less important) MAC means "Media Access Control address", not to be confused with Apple Mac computers. Each computer on your network will have a unique 12 digit MAC address. Although there are hacking utilities out there to monitor wireless packets and "spoof" a known mac address, it's unlikely that a novice would get around this security block - especially when combined with the other suggestions in this article.

I suggest trying these improvements from a machine that is HARDWIRED to your router, so you don't accidentally lock yourself out during the configuration.

The best way to secure your network and have the fastest performance is with a traditional hard wired approach. While wireless is ok for internet access, it's not very good when using a POS system or database that requires higher bandwidth to communicate with your server. Wireless networks are susceptible to interference from other nearby networks, microwave ovens, garage door openers, cordless telephones, rc toys, etc. Such interference can cause disconnections, slow speed, or file corruption.

Wireless technology is easily hacked, and there's no single way to secure it properly. The best way to minimize problems is to use a multi-prong approach that includes changing the router's default password, upgrading the router's firmware, adding WPA2 security with an encryption key, putting passwords on shared drives, turn off the SSID broadcast flag, and turn on MAC FILTERING in your router so it will only communicate with a list of known computers.

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Thank you for participating in the 10th annual technology survey!
Mike Labbe
Get The Picture Framing


Please note: These unbiased annual surveys are done for discussion and entertainment value, and should not be used as a primary planning tool. Results represent those who participated in a survey, from USA and CANADA ONLY. Participants represent a very technology savvy part of the US framing community (forum users), but the results may not necessarily represent the industry as a whole. Please use the results with caution. Details can be viewed at http://www.custompictureframing.com/poll_results.htm
 
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Mike Labbe

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Hi Mike,

How many participated in the survey from each year?
Hello

There were 196 this year, 198 last year. There are additional counts in the results file at http://www.custompictureframing.com/poll_results.htm

This survey was for US and Canadian markets only, so the results would be very different if conducted in your country/market. There are different key players and vendors in UK, AU, and NZ.

Although we asked other countries not to participate, the software tells me that we had 2 votes from New Zealand, 3 from Australia, and 4 from the UK. (9 votes total may have thrown some things off ever so slightly, but I have no way of knowing which ones they were - so they were left in the results) This is why we had some votes for products not sold in USA or Canada.

Mike
 

tedh

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So how many from Canada?
 

Mike Labbe

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Surprisingly, only 12 of the votes were from Canada. Most were from USA.

This is the first year that the software broke it down by country. Freeonlinesurveys.com (which ironically isnt free) did a software upgrade this year.

Mike
 
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